Public Faith and Finance

The realism of faith and the fantasies of finance

LUKE BRETHERTON: To be a lender and a borrower is to be situated within economic relations of inter-dependence, cooperation and mutual responsibility. But the modern financial sector refuses to recognize human inter-dependence, seeing societies as a crowd of competitive individuals with no real connection or common life.

Islamic finance has something to teach us all and may have more freedom to flourish here in the UK

ELAINE HOUSBY: The main targets of the British government’s attempts to attract Islamic funds are the extractive economies of the Gulf – which offer a narrow interpretation of Islam. Yet look beyond this and it is possible to find deeper principles in Islamic finance that overlap with the strong British tradition of mutualism.

The Just Money campaign

SELINA STONE AND TOM CHIGBO: The Just Money Campaign builds on the actions taken by Citizens UK in the aftermath of the financial crash of 2008. In this essay from ‘God and the Moneylenders’, two community organisers involved in the campaign describe its recent activities and its potential for further impact.

Public faith and finance

Faith-based organisations have a long, complex and often antagonistic relationship to the financial sector. Many faiths – Islam especially – have their own distinctive tradition of financial practice, and a long history of supporting alternative financial systems. Recent years have seen prominent campaigns on issues such as the expansion of payday lenders and the living wage. Some – most notably the Archbishop of Canterbury in 2013 – have even suggested that churches and other religious institutions could play a role in the provision of financial products and support via credit unions and other forms of microfinance or debt counselling. But how effective can such activities be, given the level of resources in faith communities?
In February Public Spirit will host a series of articles on ‘public faith and finance’. Building on the debate held at Public Spirit’s launch event in October 2013, the series will cover topics such as Islamic finance, payday lenders and the recent Just Money campaign. But how effective can such activities be, given the level of resources in faith communities?

George Osborne ‘caves in’ to Lambeth Palace on payday lenders

The Independent claims today that George Osborne’s decision to impose a cap on payday lending costs was taken to avert a parliamentary rebellion led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. It writes: Senior Conservatives were understood to have been fearful of losing a vote on a hostile amendment in the House of Lords on Tuesday which would have set a charge cap of 10 per cent on all short-term … Continued